Monday, 18 May 2009

Climate Change, Birds, Marine Nature Reserves and very importantly, people

Programme Transmitted Tuesday June 2nd BBC Radio 4

Well what a title, but believe it or not I will be presenting a BBC Nature programme which has all these elements rolled into one. This programme is part of the series called Nature and is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesdays at 1100hrs. The real title of the programme is "Canaries of the Cliffs", and I have just spent the weekend with BBC producer Mary Colwell in a lovely coastal Scottish village called "Tain" were we met Bob Swann BTO Scottish rep and a real expert on his sea bird colony's having spent many years studying them. Good also to talk with a fellow ringer this year being the centenary of the ringing schemes. On the very steep cliffs I also interviewed Professor Sarah Wanless of the Center for Hydrology and Ecology (Note to Mary C, I remembered). Then for the second day we were on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast. Now I don't want to spoil the programme for you so will not say anymore about it.
I think you should listen to this programme, especially if like me your a land lover who had never been inspired by a sea bird colony's to think beyond the cliffs. The real story as I just hinted is beyond the cliffs, so book a time to listen to this one. I think you will find my clumsy title to this blog becomes more apt as the programme develops. Transmission is on JUNE 2nd at 1100hrs BBC Radio 4 and of course online at the BBC Nature website after the programme has transmitted.

For those of you who become inspired after listening to the programme, then David Steel the National Trust head warden and his team on the Farne Islands do a fantastic job not only with the important research they do, but also with the general public that visit, and indeed these Island are a must visit. Here is the website
Oh yes, I did take some pictures so I will leave you with a sample of the pictures I took on the Farne Islands. These were a bit rushed, I could spent weeks there!

Artic Tern with food
Eider Drake
A reptilian looking Shag

And here they come now, everyone's favourite sea bird.


That's all folks!

Thursday, 7 May 2009


I had 10 minutes to spare, so watched one of our boxes that we originally erected in 2001 as part of the Nest Boxes in Schools project (NBIS). The box was intended for Great or Blue Tits, however the bandit bird has taken it over. I think Nuthatches are great, they are Kings and Queen of the bird table or feeders, that's if you are lucky enough to have them visit. Their songs begin as the last of cold of the winter fades, and as you can see from the pictures they can rearrange very professionally the front of Tit box you have painstakingly built. They are the comics and demons of the woodland or indeed semi wooded garden.

As you can see for the pictures above what is being brought back to the nest for the chicks inside is not nuts or seed material that most associate this species with, in fact its insects, flying insects at that, with may fly and black fly seemingly the most in this short time I was observing them. Also of note most of the may fly was concentrated on the Hawthorn that is left to grow wild around this nest.

And for my last pictures from today, as I was leaving my house this morning I happened to look back and saw a Mallard Duck on my roof?

This is silly, what is a Mallard Drake doing on my roof?

Handsome, yet very silly Mallard Duck